Back in the dark times, there was never anything better than being left to my own devices. The anticipation of an extended period of alone time would get me a giddy as a kid at Christmas. It was my disease’s dream realized: me and booze were going to spend some quality time together. My alcoholism was a needy, clingy, debilitating compatriot, one I hated yet couldn’t be without. Just us, doors locked, blinds drawn, for as long as it would last.
Step 11: sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Once I became acquainted with the program and had a few twenty-fours hours under my belt, I came to understand that I had a new enemy, one I’d never given any serious thought to, because back in my drinking days it didn’t really exist. That enemy was time. As in unstructured time, stretching out before me like an endless rug. It still can sneak up on me whenever I’m overwhelmed or feeling under-appreciated. The next thing I know is that I’m in it deep. Stalled in neutral, a dull buzzing builds behind my eyes. I go into a trance of unfocused self-flagellation while pacing out loops in my backyard, wondering when my downtime won’t get me so down.
I often feel I don’t deserve free time. I’ve been run by shoulds for as long as I can remember, and doing something that’s fun for fun’s sake seems indulgent and selfish. Not that I jump up and do something “productive”: instead I dwell on the middle ground and its overall uncomfortableness. It’s neither high nor low: it’s simply an ordinary, run-of-the-mill afternoon, and my disease can’t stand it. This feeling will slowly build up behind my back until it explodes with an outburst of anger that surprises even me. Upset with myself for being out of sorts and horrible, I retreat into isolation. It’s all my old behaviors, sans alcohol. I’m still living in my maintenance-drinking machine.
That’s why it’s so important for me to get in front of the glacier through prayer and meditation. No longer can I expect to get myself out of my daily funks, mainly because I was the one who created the funks in the first place. I’ve never been able to undo knots of my own tying.
I must first make time for the program if I’m to have any hope of enjoying time.